Writer Charles Hoffman brought the Jervis Tetch aka The Mad Hatter (David Wayne) into the Batman television series with his episode, The Thirteenth Hat. It first aired on 23 February, 1966 and sees Tetch using his mesmerizer (stowed in the top of his hat) to abduct hats, and the people wearing them.
Commissioner Gordon (Neil Hamilton) reaches out to the Dynamic Duo of Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) to help with the crimes, but even they don’t initially see the connection between the kidnappings.
It seems Tetch is abducting the twelve people who sat on the jury that sentenced him, and he needs only one more hat to reenact the trial, the one witness who was able to testify and put him away… he wants Batman’s cowl!
As the Caped Crusaders chase the Hatter all over town following a variety of clues and interviewing a number of witnesses (some more helpful than others), they finally end up squaring off in a local sculptor’s. A widespread flurry of fisticuffs ensues, things and people are thrown about, but when the Hatter attempts to use his mesmerizer on Batman he uses a bat-device to reflect, but it hits Robin instead, and when Batman rushes to his aid, he ends up being trapped in plaster!!
As it hardens Tetch says they’ll take the cowl off after everything hardens! Batman is in serious trouble! Robin is dazed on the floor! How will the Dynamic Duo get out of this one?! Let’s find out!
Batman Stands Pat sees the World’s Greatest Detective surviving being encased in plaster by holding his breath (?). Hoffman penned the second part of the episode, which aired the following night on 24 February, 1966.
While Batman and Robin struggle to learn the meaning of the Mad Hatter’s clues before finally cluing into the fact that it was the jury that sat the Hatter’s case, Tetch daydreams and concocts grisly plans for Batman and Robin even as he prepares for another confrontation with them.
Eventually, the Dynamic Duo is able to put all the clues together and is ready to take on the Mad Hatter and his goons, and once again, more colourful fisticuffs ensue.
It’s fun, there’s definitely a sense of play to the series which is delightful, and the banter between Batman and Robin is highly enjoyable, even if neither of them quite lives up to the name of World’s Greatest Detective – let’s just be thankful they have so many bat-gadgets to help them.
Speaking of, Hatter’s goons fall for the anti-theft device on the Batmobile which is pretty funny. In fact, I have to admit to having a soft spot for this version of the Batmobile. I mean the 1989 version is very much my version, much like Michael Keaton is my Batman, but this incarnation, car and bat, are just so much goofy fun.
I cannot wait to see where the series takes me next!